Thursday, August 27, 2015

Writer's Block Tutorial by Em Hacker

If you were intrigued by the Writer's Block I featured in my post two days ago, then you are lucky because Em wrote up a tutorial so you can make one for yourself! Check it out!

Writer’s Block sounds like a disease.

“I’m sorry; I can’t go to work today. I have Writer’s Block.”

Writers would probably agree that it is a disease. A disease brought on when Creativity decides to disown you and you stare at blank pages with a blank mind and feel as blank as both.

So what does a writer do when Block knocks on the door and then smothers Creativity right there in front of your face? Convulse a little? Probably. Scream? Definitely. And then write!

“But my page, mind, and self are all blank right now,” you reply.

Well, of course they are. Creativity just died right in front of you. Blank is an appropriate response. But Creativity is a curious creature, and has more lives than a cat. Or a few hundred of them. So revive it. And get yourself a Writer’s Block. To fix . . . Writer’s Block.

Commence dazed expressions now.

A Writer’s Block is a life-saving device I use on a regular basis. The idea of it was first introduced to me by a teacher. I took said idea . . . and ran with it. Seriously, I had to make myself a new Block just for this tutorial because mine was so beat up. I had to. Yeah. We’ll go with that.

What I got from my teacher was an extremely tiny box that contained a few foil-wrapped items.

I nicknamed it Writer’s Block – because irony has a place in my life. But a few bouts of actual Writer’s Block later, and . . . the foil objects were gone!

Duh, duh, duh!!!

So I made myself a new, much more official Writer’s Block. And I decorated him with the desiccated remains of an old book.



I guess I forgot to warn you that a book died in the making of this Writer’s Block. But calm down, I already own a fully-functional copy of said book. This one was rather haggard, a bit stained, and rescued from the free section at my local public library. Rescued, and then tortured at the hands of yours truly, true. But my Writer’s Block looks fabulous.

And while we’re at it, I craft with books frequently. You should see my book pumpkins. But not right now.

SOOOOOO, let’s get started.

(1) Go to the dollar store and buy one of these.

Lovely. And now that it’s yours, it is no longer a box. It is a Block. Guard it like a dragon hoarding treasure.

This is my Writer’s Block.

(2) Now you need to rescue a little victim to torture. Don’t worry, it will only hurt a little. On the inside. Way down deep. In your soul! Now, tear out some pages. Just close your eyes and do it. Do it! Don’t worry, you’ll feel okay again eventually. Maybe this will help: tear the pages into smaller pieces.

If you passed out, I’ll give you time to recover. Oh, who are we kidding? You’re reading. I don’t have to give you anything. Hey, you’re conscious again! Welcome back. I’m still here.

(3) For this next step, you will need Mod Podge. Mod Podge is awesome. Or, make your own DIY Mod Podge at home. Using a paint brush – that has never before befriended a jar of paint, nor has intentions of doing so in the future; aka, brand new – spread a thin layer of Mod Podge across a portion of your Block. Then place a few of your crying book page pieces on the Mod Podge.

This process is called decoupage. Keep going.

And going.

And going.

If you just pictured the Energizer Bunny, then you’re awesome. Keep going.

Hey, look, you’re done. I was totally done first, but no one’s keeping score. This is like Preschool Soccer. Just kick the ball.

Besides, you’re not actually done.

(4) Let your block dry. All the way. Don’t get antsy. Be patient. It doesn’t actually take very long. Oh, and rinse your brush, or the Mod Podge will dry on it, and it will be good for nothing . . . but the trash can.

(5) Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire Block, and let it dry again. If you do this step before Step 4, your Writer’s Block will suddenly look like an old man who loves the sun (wrinkled!) so don’t do it. Also, don’t set your wet Block down on anything, or it will be sad. And stuck. Do it in stages. Or do something like this:

This would also be the stage where you can personalize your Writer’s Block. You have to re-do Step 4 if you get fancy, though, so be warned! Add some of your favorite quotes. This one’s my favorite, and a must for me. It goes around the top of my Block. Because it’s funny. And oh, so true.

Okay, now let it dry.


I’m messing with you, it still isn’t done.

(6) Fill the box. Only you can’t fill the box!

“Excuse me?” you say.

Sorry, but you can’t.

Recruit family and friends. Ask them to gather random things for you. They can be items from around the house, or lost things found on the road, or in the parking lot at work, or at the grocery store. Anything is game, so long as it fits inside. And is legal. And isn’t alive.

Sometimes I send my kiddos outside with small sheets of foil.

It’s not weird. Seriously, neighbors. Not. Weird!

Seeing an object through the eyes of a child is like being handed a freshly-baked character on a cookie sheet: deliciously perfect. The kind of character you can practically hear, smell, see, touch, and even taste . . . if you’re into that.

My husband has also been tasked with the lifelong thrill of sneaking random goodies into my Writer’s Block. And some of the best “objects” that have ever been wrapped for me are pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So write them down!

Look! My family and friends love me.

But . . . oh, dear. This won’t do at all. These things are naked. Don’t let your friends and family give them to you like this! That would be scandalous! Make sure they know to wrap each item in aluminum foil. You don’t want to see them before you need them, or the Writer’s Block will lose all magic.

Much better! These lovely, foil-wrapped mysteries may now be placed inside your Writer’s Block. And let everyone know that they can give you foil-wrapped offerings at any time, on any day . . . for the rest of your life!

And now you’re set! Forever. When Creativity is murdered at your feet and you find yourself Blocked, grab your Writer’s Block. Take a deep breath, reach inside, and pull out a foil of mystery. Open it up.

And then WRITE!

Write the first thing that comes to mind. And then keep writing! The surprises in your Writer’s Block are like tiny defibrillators for Creativity. They shock it to life again, and before you know it, your fingers will be flying across the paper. Or keyboard. Or phone, as is usually the case for me. Writer’s Block thusly banished . . . by a Writer’s Block!

Happy Writing! 

This is me.


I have been writing since I could wield a pencil. The thrill and magic of that pencil is that it can be anything - a sword, a wand, or even a crutch. Stories skulk through my skull. They live in my veins. They permeate the air I breathe.

If I didn't let them out, I'd probably be strapped down in a mental institution. And not the kind we have today; the old ones, that have succumbed to time, and have seedy pasts. My bed would be the moldy one in the corner.

Except that I write! So I'm insane, but not clinical.

And I'm me! Mom to three. Wife. Quirky and proud of it.




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